Western Michigan is not a terrible team, and that's reflected in the fact that -- unlike some earlier games against clearly outmatched opponents (Austin Peay, Gardner-Webb, St. John's) or decent teams having a serious off night (Detroit) -- the Broncos hung tough for about 25 minutes before fading in the second half. The final outcome was never really in doubt, but this was a nine-point game with 15:39 left.
This is really the kind of tune-up you'd like to have right before SEC play starts. It was an easy enough win that Vanderbilt could let the bench guys get some quality minutes in, and yet there were enough little issues that Kevin Stallings has some things he can harp on that need to be improved.
For one thing, while Western Michigan had a pedestrian 38.9% eFG%, that's largely a reflection of the Broncos shooting 2-for-18 from three. Western isn't a good three-point shooting team, but on a "normal" shooting night for them, they could have made a game of it because they shot 50 percent inside the arc. That's not a good number against a team that doesn't have a good big man or athletic guards who can attack the rim. Allowing an undersized team to get to the free throw line 24 times isn't really a good look, either. And the effort on the defensive glass could stand to improve; it wasn't a glaring issue tonight, but allowing a relatively poor offensive rebounding team to collect 30 percent of their own misses isn't a good thing. Upcoming opponents Arkansas and South Carolina are going to attack the glass with reckless abandon, so this is something that must improve.
|Wade Baldwin IV||33||4||8||2||6||5||6||1||3||4||15||1||10||1||1||3||24.3||0.74|
- Wade Baldwin IV's stat line pretty much speaks for itself.
- Riley LaChance still seems to be mired in a shooting slump, but at least tonight he was helping the team in other ways. This offense will be even more lethal once he regains his form.
- You would expect Damian Jones to dominate an undersized team.
- For notching a double-double, Jeff Roberson really didn't have that impressive of a night.
- Nolan Cressler's stat line looks considerably better than he actually played -- Cressler scored nine of his 14 points in the last three minutes, which basically amounted to garbage time as the game was already in hand.
- Matthew Fisher-Davis was the reverse of Cressler: nine points in the first five minutes before disappearing the rest of the night.
- Josh Henderson had another day at the office: nothing special, but he's not hurting the team when he's out there, which is really what you want from a backup.
- It's hard to think of a louder four points than the four that Joe Toye scored on back-to-back dunks midway through the second half.
- Camron Justice was maybe a bit too eager to get back to action, but it's good that his injury didn't seem to be bothering him. We'll see how well he readjusts after missing that much time.
In all, there really isn't anything major to complain about in a 25-point win. Stallings gets to tear somebody's ear off for the next couple of days in practice, which seems like a good thing since the next time Vanderbilt takes the court on Saturday, the other team's best player will be Ben Simmons rather than Tucker Haymond.